In a press release issued on Saturday, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has made it clear that no essential service or benefit shall be denied to a genuine beneficiary for the want of Aadhaar whether it is medical help, hospitalisation, school admission or ration through PDS.
This clarification through a press release comes when the Constitution bench of the Supreme Court is hearing the validity of Aadhaar Act. Senior advocates Shyam Divan and Kapil Sibal had elaborately argued before the Supreme Court against Aadhaar and the violation of privacy rights due to it.
Quoting Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act, the authority said the act of some service providers denying essential and other services for want of Aadhaar are punishable under respective laws of the land. Under no circumstance, anyone can be denied a service just because he/she doesn’t have an Aadhaar, it said.
The authority said it has taken a ‘serious note’ of some of the cases reported in media recently in which it is claimed that the want of Aadhaar has resulted in the denial of essential services like hospitalisation or medical help by some lower level staffs causing grave inconvenience to people. “While real facts behind such claims of denial are being investigated by the concerned agencies and strict action will be taken in case denial has occurred,” it said.
“If one does not have Aadhaar or if Aadhaar online verification is not successful due to some reason, the agency or department has to provide the service as per Section 7 of Aadhaar Act, 2016 and OM dated 19th Dec 2017 by using alternate means of identification and recording them in exception registers which should be audited periodically by the higher authorities. If any official of a department denies a service for the lack of Aadhaar or lack of successful verification due to technical or any such reasons, a complaint should be lodged with the higher authorities of those departments for such unlawful denials,” it further clarified.
The press release also quotes a UIDAI circular issued in October, last year, regarding exception handling in Public Distribution Services and other Welfare schemes.